A Shiny New Year

What happened since my last blog? I got a front door. Yep, 3 months later and all I have to show for it is a front door.

That’s what happens when you’re an owner builder, if you’re not around to do stuff or organise things, nothing happens. I did find some good trades who were not daunted by the whole container and steel wall situation, in fact several were very enthused by the concept, but they were mostly booked up until Christmas so I’m hoping to get them onto my job now that we’ve arrived in a brand spanking new year.

I also had some personal issues going on, you might have noticed an extremely good looking dog with a talent for photo-bombing in some of my earlier posts. We were a permanently attached pair for 9 years, but he was diagnosed with cancer back in August and I lost him just before NYE. If you’re a dog or animal loving person you might recognise the complete and utter heartbreak that comes with that sort of loss.

On the practical side, my trips up to my build site were a bit spontaneous and dependent on what was going on with him at the time. We had quite a few unplanned vet visits but we were lucky that various treatments helped for a while and he had good quality of life and maintained his wild puppy madness and crazy-happy exuberance to the end.

Back to the build, on the upside I enjoyed a disproportionate amount of delight from my new front door, which, in my mind at least, formally took my house to lock-up stage. As per my last post it was a bit of a saga to get the door, but get one I did and then a great local carpenter came and fitted it for me. It’s a fabulous door, it gives privacy but lets in some light and colour.

door light
My lovely front door, with a rhododendron glow coming through it. It’s made from double-glazed 6mm toughened glass as well of course, to meet BAL Flame Zone requirements.

You’ll see from the banner pic at the top of this post that there is no shortage of light coming into my house, and no shortage of green peering in through every window. Note that the scale looks a bit out in that photo, the inside is bigger than it looks because that brown chair is massive, my feet don’t touch the ground when I sit in it. It was scavenged from the side of the road, apparently casually discarded by some giants living up the street. While the giant-chair is comfy, I can’t recommend the green blow-up chair, it was  designed by someone with a nasty sense of humour – you have to perch towards the front of it to sit without rolling out, and it waits until you get relaxed and let down your guard then tips you forward onto your head. And that is regardless of any consumption of gin and tonic.

Aside from that piece of ill-chosen temporary furniture, the house is a really lovely place to be with plenty of birdlife around including a local lyrebird, no noise except for the wind through the trees, and a very short walk to a stunning mountain valley lookout. I’ve been camping in it for a couple of nights most weeks, working on the garden and doing bits n pieces. While I’m back in the big city I’m buying up some of the plumbing and electrical fittings in the January sales.

I wanted to get the connections all done at the same time, and get the big trench dug out to run them all from the street to my house. However, I also want to minimise the time the open trench is there as it will play havoc with access for everything else, and my Water Services Coordinators have been missing in action for a couple of months so I don’t know what is happening with the Sydney Water approvals for my sewer connection. So rather than waiting for that to go ahead, I’m now planning to get a plumber and electrician in to rough in the connections inside the house, so I can move on with interior insulation and fit-out, and do the trenched connections later.

king parrot
Cheeky King Parrot in my garden. He flew right down to my head and peered at me, then followed me around for a while – someone nearby is no doubt feeding him.

I have to finish sealing up some of the last gaps between the containers next visit. They are horizontal gaps and no rain comes in there but an absurd number of large huntsman spiders crawled down the walls towards my mattress last time I stayed. I thought I had a deal with Harriet the huntsman who lived above my new door for some weeks, she was supposed to hang out in the other end of the house, but instead she invited all her mates around for a party near my bed. She might also have produced 200 kids but these guys were too big to be her youngsters. I had to go get my tent out of my car at midnight and pitch it inside the house again and sleep in that. Yes I know huntsman spiders are harmless, and do good things like eat mosquitoes, and I’m grateful for that but if they’re crawling over you during the night instead of behaving respectably that is not conducive to sleep.

I’m looking forward to getting this project completed and moving into my little mountain sanctuary. There will be a few more hitches no doubt, the stud walls that They-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named installed turned out to be all more crooked than I’d hoped, to the extent that plasterboard would crack if you tried to install it (as a carpenter informed me), so the wall sections where any sort of cabinetry is going will all have to be squared up. I’m considering using plywood instead of plasterboard for some of the other sections, as plywood can take a less than perfectly level surface. I like the warmth of the timber as well.

Nothing ever goes to plan, but that allows for some creative licence, so bring it on 2018! Well, I qualify that challenge a bit – special request to 2018 to please be a little nice about it, my imagination is good but my budget is limited.



10 thoughts on “A Shiny New Year”

  1. Hi HB
    Best wishes for 2018…
    I would encourage you to use ply as a lining material, on a current project in Blackheath which is being built to a very tight budget we have used 12 mm CD grade radiata ply for most of the interior linings. It has one coat of Feast Watson lining white floor finish, which gives a wipeable surface with a low sheen and softens the timber look considerably. It works out at about $15/square metre and looks great in a bush building. It is installed over studwork which is painted black, with about a 5 mm gap creating a shadowline. This saves having to put cover strips over the joints and accommodates slight discrepancies in sheet size (CD grade being a utility type of ply.) Would also cope with thermal movement. And of course it’s 2400 high which works with a standard container size – not sure if yours are standard or high. Would post a photo if I could work out how to do it here…
    Keep the narrative going, your followers want to see you happily housed –

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Richard, thanks that’s extremely helpful information. I was wondering how to tone down plywood to a paler colour to contrast a timber floor and also reflect a bit more light, and that liming finish sounds perfect. My stud walls are steel and already a mid-grey colour which might look good as a shadowline too. My containers are high cubes and ceilings are set at around 2550mm but I know a place in Penrith that sells larger sheets of CD ply (2700mm). The ply as you describe it sounds like a great option. Thanks for the encouragement too, much appreciated!


  2. Long time reader, first time commenter :o) Firstly, condolences on the loss of your fur baby, never easy. Secondly, enjoy your posts and thought I would leave some words as my husband and I are undertaking something similar in Tassie. Everything is taking us much longer than anticipated and life is getting in our way as well, but I’m confident 2018 will bring good things for us both!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words, and it’s encouraging to know you guys are undertaking a similar build. How many containers are you using, have you got a blog going? Always nice to know there are readers out there too who haven’t given up on following my extremely long adventure 🙂 Good luck with your build, cheers to 2018!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re still in the early stages, but will be using four (2 bottom and 2 top) – with a few outbuildings using containers thrown in for good measure as well! No blog but Instagram is definitely on the list :o)

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s